Image: Yonhap News
The United States has indicted dozens of North Korean and Chinese individuals on charges of laundering at least 2.5 billion dollars to help fund Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
In a 50-page federal indictment unsealed Thursday, the Justice Department accused 28 North Koreans and five Chinese nationals of acting as agents of North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank.
Officials say this is the largest North Korean sanctions violations case charged by the U.S.
The defendants include two former presidents of the bank, Ko Chol-man and Kim Song-ui, and two former co-vice presidents, as well as North Koreans who operated the institution's covert branches in countries around the world, including China, Austria, Libya and Russia -- one of whom had served in the North's primary intelligence bureau.
The Chinese were said to be involved in the operation of covert branches in Shenyang, China or Libya.
The charges come as negotiations between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have seen little progress since their surprise meeting at the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas last June.
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